Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 4, Denver to Des Moines

Now that I have arrived in Portland, it is difficult to remember past days. Gas in the Midwest was $3.99 at its lowest and as high as $4.17. I quickly abandoned my resolve to travel under the speed limit because 1) Everybody else was going fast and 2) with gas prices lower than expected, I rationalized I could afford the extra cost. I have to say that America is not driving slower to save gas. Neither are truckers traveling slower. I would guess that 50% of the trucks on the road were traveling faster than the car speed limit. Diesel remained a steady $4.50 across the nation. I cannot sympathize with complainers about gas prices. If you can’t stand paying for your driving, just stay home. Europe has been paying these prices for decades. Eventually America will adjust and we’ll settle in with the “new normal”.

Day 5; Des Moines to Chicago

I made a reservation at a pet-friendly hotel in Chicago for two nights. It will be another welcome break after another couple days on the road. The hotel was really nice and “in the Loop”, which means downtown. Dados has decided she likes the $150 hotels much better than the $38 motels. I suppose they smell better and the bedspreads are not plastic.
I loved Chicago. I got into a crush of humanity at the “Taste of Chicago” where there were a reported 1.2 million people the day before the 4th. I had to attach myself to an aggressive black woman who eventually led me to freedom. I gave her my food tickets in appreciation.
On the 4th I took a nap in order to stay awake for the fireworks. In the afternoon I took the open-top double decker bus tour of the city, then a boat tour of the river and Lake Michigan waterfront. Nice town that Chicago. I had dinner at the famous and co-worker recommended Chicago Chop House, then walked close enough to Navy Pier to view the fireworks, yet not be in the middle of another crowd.

Day 6; Chicago to Syracuse
Can’t remember, my brain is mush.

Day 7; Syracuse to Portland

After a car ferry across Lake Champlain, I enjoyed the rolling, verdant hills of Vermont. The reason Vermont is so wonderful I’ve figured out is that there are large breaks in the tree cover and you can see vast expanses of countryside of green rolling hills and large farms. Once you get into New Hampshire, the trees close in and there are no vistas to see from the road. After taking back roads through bucolic villages of Vermont looking out for Martha Stewart’s estate, I got back on the interstate and jammed on into Portland.

Both cat and man are very thankful to be finished with the trip. No flat tires, engine problems, broken windshield or other eventful trials. Now that I’ve finished the travel log, Michael and I are going out for a lobster lunch in celebration.

Tomorrow I’ll take stock of my finances and figure how quickly I must return to the working force of America.

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